speaking of names

November 4, 2007

Due to the nature of my past work and life experiences, I am accustomed to being given nicknames. Some come as a result of memory lapses, some come from teasing, and some from sweet, and greatly appreciated, affection [this I can attribute to the loving side of children’s inherent openness].
My most recent work has offered several new ones, some of which I know the root of and some I do not. All I enjoy . . . so far!
Here are a few of them, along with the best elaboration I can offer:

“Little Miss Africa” — The first newsletter I distributed included I section in which I introduced myself as the “new face” around the facility. I also gave a shortlist of the places I had lived before now. In a low-income residential facility, deep in the Heartland, the mention of Zambia, Africa rather understandably stuck out to some of the residents . . . to those who are literate, mind you!
“Miss Bonjour” — For a reason unbeknownst to me, one lady mistook my name for “Bonjour” when she was using the telephone in my office and needed to give the name of her social worker to the Department of Human Services. She asked me, a moment later, if that was how I said my name. I corrected her, but the actual pronounciation did not stick in her memory. Since then, each time she needs to say my name, she calls me “Miss Bonjour.” This has become so natural to her that she simply does not think to question any more if it is indeed my name. What I find ironic about it all is that she has no way of knowing that French is one of the languages I know: the one I know best. So I figure it is a nickname I was destined to have :-)
“Tulip Toes” — I haven’t the slightest idea where this came from, but yesterday I arrived at work to find Jo waiting for me to arrive. And as I approached the office she smiled and waved from down the hall: “Well there she is–hey, Miss Tulip Toes!” I waved back, shrugged, and laughed to myself, figuring I would just leave that one be :-)

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